Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Spokane

Guns stolen from vehicle of FBI agent
Police seek information on loaded submachine gun, shotgun, and other items taken

Kevin Taylor
Staff writer

Federal and local police in Coeur d'Alene were searching Monday for weapons stolen from an FBI agent's car.

The car, a 1998 Blazer, was not marked as a police vehicle and was parked in front of the agent's Coeur d'Alene home when a neighbor noticed driver's side windows were broken out at about 5 a.m. Monday.

A loaded submachine gun and a shotgun with four slugs were taken from the car. Also stolen, according to a Coeur d'Alene police report, were a bullet-resistant FBI raid vest,
a first-aid kit and a crime-scene evidence-processing kit. The items were valued at nearly $7,000.

It is the second time this year a submachine gun was stolen from an FBI vehicle. An agent in Spokane was similarly victimized in early April, prompting a tougher policy there for locking down items in cars.

The Coeur d'Alene break-in is believed to have happened sometime between 10 p.m. Sunday and 5 a.m. Monday said Bob Davis, FBI supervisor in Coeur d'Alene.

Davis said he was not aware of any other police reports of car break-ins in the neighborhood that night.

"It appears to be a random act ... but we don't know that right now," Davis said.

The agent told Coeur d'Alene police that his job was no secret around the neighborhood.

Davis said the FBI is asking anyone with information to call the Coeur d'Alene FBI office, (208) 664-5128.

"This is very serious," Davis said. "We will pay for information."

The submachine gun was described as a semi-automatic H&K 9mm MP-5. It was loaded with a 30-round magazine. The shotgun was a Remington 870.

As of Monday afternoon, Davis said, there were no suspects and few leads.

Almost identical weaponry was stolen in northwest Spokane in early April when a 10mm model of the MP-5 was stolen from the trunk of an FBI agent's Grand Prix. The German-made submachine gun was found on the roof of a commercial building a week later.

It appears a car prowler traded the weapon and some other items for methamphetamine, Spokane police and FBI officials said last spring. After a drug raid, police were tipped to the location of the submachine gun.

The theft prompted a new policy "to ensure we have locking mechanisms to lock weapons in the cars. Secondary locking mechanisms -- in fact, more than secondary on some vehicles," Egon Dezihan, FBI supervisor in Spokane, said.

Monday's police report indicated both weapons in the Coeur d'Alene break-in were in an area behind the driver's seat. They were covered, but unlocked.

ĽKevin Taylor can be reached at (208) 765-7124 or by e-mail at kevint@spokesman.com.


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